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We are expecting a baby this July was wondering how to prepare for his coming with the intention of homeschooling the child. Do we need to take some courses, read books, prepare a plan to start schooling the baby from day 1.

Motivation:

I roughly remember that I read about some studies which correlate conditioning \Intervention as early as the fetal (fetus) stage to have significant impact on behavior and intellect in the future adulthood of a Person.

Our vision:

Ideally we would love to home school the baby all the way up to matriculation. Most importantly we would definitely not want to give the traditional kind of education. Some thing which is more meaningful and useful to get the Child into the world and dealing with it as quickly as possible. More specifically I would like my child to actually learn by doing things on the lines of Cognitive Apprenticeship

P.S We are from India

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Until what age are you intending to home-school your child? All the way? –  Dave Clarke Jun 17 '13 at 4:56
    
@DaveClarke Ideally yes, All the way up to matriculation. And we would definitely not want to give the traditional kind of education. Something more meaningful and useful. –  Ali Jun 17 '13 at 4:57
    
@DaveClarke More specifically I would like my child to actually do things like an on the lines of Cognitive Apprenticeship –  Ali Jun 17 '13 at 5:04
    
Perhaps you could add this information to the question. –  Dave Clarke Jun 17 '13 at 5:05
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4 Answers 4

You will not be able to teach a newborn baby very much! For many, many months, your child is going to be learning fundamentals like how to eat, how to focus eyes properly, how to roll over... you've got years to prepare for a solid homeschooling curriculum, so you do not need to have all the pieces in place by July.

You can certainly do things to keep an infant interested in the world and learning, however; play baby games, talk frequently around (and to) him, read baby books, and try to have lots of different, new experiences that let your child see all sorts of things (like going to parks, museums, even the store, rather than just staying home all the time).

Longer-term, you should definitely read books about homeschooling. Make sure that you are not only meeting the academic requirements to homeschool a child, but also including additional learning experiences that you as parents think are important. Meeting and learning from other homeschool-parents can provide a great system of support and ideas, plus provide opportunities for your child to socialize with others approximately the same age.

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+1: for attempting to answer the Obvious points, I have updated the motivation behind the question do have a look at it –  Ali Mar 16 '13 at 19:23
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There are definitely studies out there which support that -- for example, this article covers some, but is not exhaustive. It's certainly important to not ignore your baby's development until they're ready for "real" schoolwork. That being said, as far as I know, basic human interaction with a baby (holding, talking, playing with toys together, etc.) is still seen as the strongest influence on positive development to build a strong foundation for future behavior and education. –  Erica Mar 16 '13 at 19:41
    
Thanks for that much needed link –  Ali Mar 16 '13 at 20:34
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There's not much at that link about foetal development. As far as I know most studies of pre-birth "learning aids" are inconclusive at best, but I don't have a link to back that up. –  deworde Jun 8 '13 at 19:31
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The first schooling all children get is homeschooling. Depending on where you live and the way the parent(s) employment is arranged, they might have no teacher other than a parent for 6 weeks, a year, 4 years or more. The majority of children then go on to get some teaching from a trained professional (daycare worker, nursery school teacher, primary school teacher) for as long as 6 hours a day or more, while still learning more informally from their parents. Until about the second year of fulltime formal schooling (say age 7 or 8 in most countries) they learn more from their parents - how to eat, dress, care for themselves, vocabulary, and even reading - than from the other teachers.

Setting aside my understanding of homeschooling to be acting as your child's only teacher past an age where most children have multiple teachers, it seems you are asking about those early months and years, what some people would call preparation for traditional school. Almost every "baby book" you can buy is crammed with advice on how to teach your child to eat solid foods, to walk, to use the toilet, and so on. If anything, most new parents get too much advice about how to teach things to their children. The most important thing you can teach a child is that they are loved and that doing stuff is great. From birth they will want to do what you do and be like you. You read? They want to read. You listen to music? They want to listen to music. You play an instrument? They want to play an instrument. You wear shoes, use the toilet, cook, ride a bike, climb a tree, throw a ball, build things with blocks, know the words for things, and you can share those abilities with your child when the time is right.

My advice? Prepare to enjoy your life and to share that joy with this new person - for the next 20 years. That's so much more important than flashcards or the "right" decorations for the nursery.

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It is true that early focus on childhood development can make a difference in the long-term outcomes for children. However the kind of person who independently reads those studies usually naturally engages in many of the positive behaviors that make a difference in later life, such as frequently talking to their infants. That said, the kind of intervention they are talking about may not be what you expect - it's not academic at all in the traditional sense of the word.

There is a large volume of studies which have proved over and over again that young children learn best through play. Play is especially important for babies and toddlers. The development of motor skills - seemingly basic things such as reaching, batting, rolling over, crawling, a pincer grasp, and so on - have impacts far beyond the skills themselves. One 2010 study showed that early acheivement of fine motor skills was a strong predictor of later in life academic acheivement (source). Your earliest "schooling" of your child will be through loving and play. You can find many play activities which promote age-appropriate development of motor skills and other skills at ZERO TO THREE, a site dedicated to development from birth until age 3.

Futher studies on the benefit of play cover the preschool years. You can read a book-length overview of the evidence in A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool. There is a briefer overview of some of the evidence related to preschoolers in this policy brief. Some things that brief points out include:

  • Free play - that is play which is not directed by a parent - stimulates interest in mathematics regardless of the child's sex. It also fosters creative thinking and social problem-solving.
  • Overviews of long-term outcomes for kids who have play-based early education versus kids who have academic-based early education support children who have play-based early education.
  • Studies show that make-believe play has many benefits for young children as well.

ZERO TO THREE has an interactive tool to support school-readiness which goes over many activities which parents can engage in with their children to provide a foundation for life-long learning. That tool makes a wonderful statement which sums up the current thinking on how infants and toddlers learn:

It isn’t necessary to “teach” very young children. Formal classes and other activities that push babies and toddlers to read and write words do not help their development or make the do better in school. In fact, they can even make children feel like failures when they are pushed to do something they don’t enjoy or that is beyond their skills.
(source)

Books on learning which you may find useful include Einstein Never Used Flashcards and the much-praised Nurtureshock.

As far as preparation for the formal education years down the road, now may be a time to determine which learning philosophy you plan to follow, to make sure that the primary teaching parent is him or herself adequate in all subject areas to be taught (or to find teaching cooperatives where an adequate instructor can be found), and to research homeschooling resources in your area. Parents with adequate knowledge themselves make or break the homeschooling experience based on what I, a homeschooled child, have seen.

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+1: the kind of answer looking for thanks for the many links. –  Ali Jun 11 '13 at 16:59
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My daughter's 4 and we've been using easy peasy. It's not secular but it's easy to change for my purposes and it's free. Other than reading to her, playing games, and answering questions we didn't do anything until 3. Then she started piano. A little later she started practising her letters. Now we're doing sight reading words and she's learning to sound them out.

I'd also like to add a tip... we shop at thift stores and consignment sales and have been accumulating materials, work books, art supplies, etc at discount prices since before she was born. It distributes the expenses over more time and reduces the cost of the materials.

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good,can your material be adapted for an Islamic viewpoint? Even I was looking for a Islamic home school religious education. And I must say you have come up with an excellent resource –  Ali Jan 17 at 10:30
    
I imagine so. I'm in the early stages of the program and it suits my needs. You can add material and remove material based on your world view as necessary but it's a good jumping off point. –  hortstu Jan 17 at 18:48
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